Skip to comments.Georgia On My Mind: Steyn's Song of the Week
Posted on 06/09/2014 12:28:05 PM PDT by mojito
There was a song Ray Charles used to hum in the back of his car on the way to the gig. A few hours later, on the way back from the gig, he'd hum it all over again. The paying customers in between never got to hear the tune, only Ray's chauffeur.
"Cat said, 'You hum it so much, why don't you record it?' recalled Charles. "I said, "cause I don't even know the words."'
The driver pointed out he could learn them. So he did:
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia On My Mind..."
Ray Charles died ten years ago this week - June 10th 2004 - a long way from Georgia in Beverly Hills, California. But this was the song Willie Nelson sang at his funeral:
A song of you..."
I wrote about Ray Charles in Mark Steyn's Passing Parade (personally autographed copies of which, etc, etc), so I thought we'd mark this anniversary of his death with one Ray Charles song in particular - "a song of you", indelibly associated with him. Yet it's not by him. It's "an old sweet song" that had been around a long time before Charles started humming it to his driver. He didn't just record it; he swallowed it up. And in the many recordings in the half-century since he hit Number One in November 1960 somehow Ray Charles is always present, part of the song now and forever.
(Excerpt) Read more at steynonline.com ...
Carmichael’s 1930 original:
Visited Stone Mountain, GA and they played this during the laser light show.
Many years ago, but still remember it vividly....
Moving back to Atlanta from Scottsdale, I started singing it the moment we crossed the state line. Just like my wife secretly told someone I would.
Ray had recently left Atlantic Records and signed with ABC Paramount when this recording was released. 'Georgia' was included on his first album for ABC: 'The Genius Hits The Road'.
Radio stations loved it because, in 1960, most of the big AM stations were still controlled by middle-aged men who were never comfortable with rock and roll. Ray Charles, then only 30, and best known for his blues/rock style, was eagerly accepted as a 'mainstream' performer when he released this mournful ballad backed by what sounds like a few dozen violins. It wasn't exactly rock and roll but, thanks to Ray's soulful rendition of the old song, America liked it and radio play helped make the song #1 in late 1960.
Ray would have other hit records, including the catchy 'call and response' pop song from 1961: 'Hit The Road, Jack'. Still, 'Georgia' remains Ray's signature song for those who were listening to the radio back in 1960.
Yes, with a discernible melody. Fancy that.
Can’t even hum a dubstep electronic dance music song.
It’d sound something like a cat hacking up a hair ball.
Georgia does have it’s problems, but, we have the best state/national anthem ever!!!!!
Mark Steyn ping.
Freepmail me, if you want on or off the Mark Steyn ping list.
Thanks for the ping Slings and Arrows.
I saw Ray Charles perform it on the lawn there once.